Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Persian rice pudding




I got the idea for this recipe from watching a programme called 'Dinner Date' (I really shouldn't admit to watching it). The concept of the programme is to find love through the love of good food. So a guy or a girl choses three people to cook them a meal in the hope that they will find one person that they connect with, then take them out for a second date. The programme is lighthearted and good entertainment but they never do seem to meet the man or woman of their dreams. A beautiful Iranian lady cooked this for her surprise date. There was no chemistry between them at all and the only thing they talked about was what the ingredients were in the food. Anyway if nothing else, it inspired me to have a go at making the rice pudding. I adapted a recipe from a Telegraph article online, to suit the ingredients I had at home, but below is the full recipe. My children tried the mixture as it was cooking, and both of them said how the taste transported them back to Primary school days. Its a lovely comforting traditional dessert with extra some special flavours.


Ingredients
Serves 4

1 litre milk
100g caster sugar
zest of 2 oranges
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cinnamon stick (I used a pinch of cinnamon powder)
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out (I used vanilla paste)
100g risotto rice, washed
1 egg yolk
200g double cream (I didnt use as much as this)
1 tsp of orange flower water (I used Rosewater)
A pinch of saffron
2 tbsp of fresh green pistachios, finely chopped
The seeds from half a pomegranate (I didnt have these)
1 tsp of dried rose petals
6 medjoul dates, finely chopped (I didnt have these)



Method
Combine the milk, sugar, cinnamon stick, orange flower water, orange and lemon zest, vanilla pod and seeds and rice in a large heavy-based saucepan and set over a medium heat.
Bring to the boil and then turn the pan right down, stirring occasionally. Cook for 45 minutes or until the rice is completely soft.
Be careful not to let the rice catch on the bottom of the pan, especially when it gets thick when it’s almost ready.

Remove from the heat. Whisk half of the cream with the egg yolk and then stir this into the hot rice with the saffron and dates and set aside to cool completely.

Whisk the remaining cream until thick and then stir it into the rice. Chill until cold.

To serve, spoon the rice into bowls and sprinkle with the almonds, pomegranates, rose petals and pistachios.


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